Let's face it: since Ottawa's regular season has ended, with the exception of what's going on in Binghamton right now, there's been sweet fuck all to discuss 'round these parts of late...
... Until now. Well, sort of. In his latest Dreger Report, TSN's Darren Dreger takes a look at the NHL's coaching carousel and mentions Pete DeBoer as a possible candidate for the vacant Senators head coaching position:
There are also some rumblings the Ottawa Senators have renewed interest in Peter DeBoer - who's currently an assistant coach with Team Canada at the World Hockey Championship.
So yeah, there it is. After some digging, it appears as though the rumblings originated as early as April 10th when Sun Media's Chris Stevenson tweeted:
The #panthers canned Pete DeBoer. He was favoured to get the #senators job before going to Florida. Gotta be a candidate for the #sens now.
Which prompted this short follow up tweet from Stevenson's colleague Steve Simmons:
If I'm Bryan Murray, I hire DeBoer today as coach of the Senators. DeBoer can coach. FLA had NO players to win with.
As much as it pains to do, I can't help it. I find myself nodding in agreement with what Simmons had to say. Please don't think less of me. Hear me out!!!
According to The Hockey News' Adam Proteau, DeBoer met with Murray early in June of 2008 and a source within the Senators organization confirmed DeBoer is the team’s choice to replace John Paddock as its full-time bench boss. When DeBoer flew down to Barbados to interview with Eugene Melnyk and negotiate a contract, some of the local rags jumped the gun and assumed that it was a done deal. To rebuff the rumours, Bryan Murray just said that it was a continuation of the interview process and that the former Kitchener Rangers coach did not formally have the job. And as we all know, the Senators opted for Craig Hartsburg instead, preferring a coach with professional experience who spoke endlessly about re-establishing discipline and making players more accountable.
So why am I agreeing with Steve Simmons? Well, the answer's somewhat simple: if Melnyk's hockey ops intuition didn't deem DeBoer fit for the job, obviously he was the man for the job. Now that DeBoer has had some NHL experience leading some mediocre Panthers teams to the brink of the playoffs, maybe he'd be a good fit for the Senators now. (Note: in his first season in Florida, his team tied the Canadiens for 8th place in the Eastern Confrence but ultimately were knocked from the playoffs on a tiebreaker.) And then there's this testimonial from Stephen Weiss:
“I think he's been a good coach. We had 93 points in his first year and he got a lot out of that group,'' center Stephen Weiss said. “At the end of the day, you need the players. I don't think he had that here, those guys you could lean on to get the job done. It's been a depleted lineup with injuries and everything. To be .500 or so, I think he did a great job with what he had.'' ~ Weiss, The Miami Herald
Albeit, I'd prefer to stress patience and avoid seeing the Senators overachieve and get stuck as a tweener organization - not good enough to contend but not bad enough to ever get the franchise lottery pick that every NHL team needs to win the Stanley Cup. It's important to note that DeBoer also has had a working relationship with Craig Anderson dating back to the 2008-09 season when Anderson played in 37 games for the Panthers.
This morning I received an email from a reader named Alex M., who wanted to pass along this YouTube video that he made with a friend. In a diversion from what's likely to be a long offseason for Sens fans, Alex described the process to me in another email:
My buddy and I have always enjoyed making videos. Being die-hard fans, this wasn't as much a negative commentary on the crummy season, but rather a positive outlook on both the past and the future. The filming and editing process is always a blast and so the motivation comes from wanting to do something that we both love. Hobby type motivation. But really, we essentially decided to do it because we thought it was a good idea and it would be a good time.
Here's the video: